PLEASE NOTE: January has five Fridays, so we’ve set our first Circle of 2016 on the fifth Friday, January 29, close to the date of the fire festival of Imbolc (February 1). Usually we meet on 4th Fridays, but occasionally scheduling issues require us to meet on a 3rd or 5th Friday. Please check for these exceptions on our website/Facebook page for upcoming 2016 Circle dates (all are posted now), and also watch for any last minute changes via social media and email/blog.
The major winter holidays are now past, and your co-Circle Keepers are curious about what 2016 will bring. With snow on the ground and temps below freezing/zero, it’s a major effort to recall now the warm bright days of summer! Yet, we know the seeds of summer have already been sown, even in the darkness. Beneath the snow, deep in the earth, life is awaiting just the right amount of warmth and rain to allow it to “spring” out of the ground once again. Appropriately, our intention for this month is Imbolc. Holly and I are looking forward to welcoming both old friends and new friends to the Bay View Drum & Journey Circle in 2016. Please join us!
According to Wikipedia, Imbolc or Imbolg (pronounced i-MOLG), also called (Saint) Brigid's Day, is a Gaelic (Irish/Scottish) fire/Sun festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on February 1, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox (it’s a cross-quarter day). And on February 2, Catholic Christians celebrate Candlemas, a holy day of purification, and of course, in the U.S. we celebrate the secular holiday Groundhog Day. Each of these holidays celebrates, in one way or another, light.
A website called The Goddess & The Green Man beautifully describes the meaning of this holiday:
“In the Celtic seasonal calendar, Imbolc marked the beginning of the lambing season and signaled the beginning of Spring and the stirrings of new life. It is called in the Gaelic language, Feile Brighde, the 'quickening of the year'. The original word Imbolg means 'in the belly', and therein you have the underlying energy. All is pregnant and expectant - and only just visible, if at all, like the gentle curve of a 'just-showing' pregnancy. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light (as the days gradually lengthen once again) and we gladly witness Life's insatiable appetite for rebirth.
It is time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. This can be done in numerous ways, from spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle. ('Spring cleaning was originally a nature ritual' - Doreen Valiente). It's a good time for wish-making or making a dedication.”
(For more, please see https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/imbolc_candlemas)
Maybe your 2015 wasn’t the greatest, wasn’t everything you wanted. Perhaps there was confusion, sadness, fear, hurt, illness, loss. It might be very difficult to feel hopeful or celebratory right now. Many people experience low energy and even depression in Winter. It is OK to acknowledge that. If you work with spirit animal guides, this is an ideal time to journey (turn inward) to request a guide especially for this year. Such “specialist” guides can help you to both acknowledge the challenges of the last year and then transmute them into something you can use. I like to think of these “difficulties” as compost – fertilizer for what I want to plant and grow in my life.
Bring your “compost” from 2015 to our first Drum & Journey Circle of 2016, on Friday, January 29 from 6-9 p.m. Write your challenges/difficulties on an intention slip (confidential) when you walk in the door – and by doing so, symbolically “give it to the Fire”. Then we will guide you on a 2016 Spirit Animal Guide journey (inside at the Marian Center where it is nice and warm!). We will welcome the return of the light with a simple candle ceremony. Together we will illuminate our hearts and purify our intentions, and ready ourselves in community for the coming season of spring and growth. See you in the Circle!
Peace and blessings,
Sally & Holly (co-Circle Keepers)